CAT recognizes that Safety is of utmost importance in any activity involving tools and
machinery. We have developed these guidelines for a safe and enjoyable experience at
any CAT sponsored event. Please read and adhere to these guidelines. If you recognize
a safety issue or unsafe behavior, please bring this to the attention of the Leader of this
• Always wear safety goggles or safety glasses, side protectors are recommended. Use a
full face shield for bowl, vessel, or any turning involving chucks and faceplates.
• Fine particles from a grinder and wood dust are harmful to your respiratory system. Use a
dust mask, air filtration helmet, proper ventilation, dust collection system, or a
combination of these to deal with this serious issue. Be especially mindful of dust from
many exotic woods, spalted woods, or any wood from which you notice a skin or
respiratory reaction. Sanding at TNT at Blue Ridge Turnery is allowed only at the two
lathes with active dust collection turned on.
• Wear hearing protection during extended periods of turning.
• Turn the lathe off before adjusting the tool rest or tool rest base, i.e., banjo.
• Remove chuck keys, adjusting wrenches, and knockout bars. Always check for these
before turning the lathe on.
• Tie back long hair; do not wear gloves; and avoid loose fitting clothing, jewelry, or any
dangling objects that may catch on rotating parts or accessories. Wear footwear that will
protect your feet should you drop a tool or piece of wood. Never wear flip flops or open
• When using a faceplate, be certain the workpiece is solidly mounted with stout screws
(#10 or #12 sheet metal screws as a minimum). Do not use dry wall or deck screws.
• Be aware of the First Aid Kit and first aid kit and the nearest Urgent Care Facility. Make
sure the Name and phone number for your emergency contact info is current on the sign
• Check that all locking devices on the tailstock, tool rest assembly, and base are tight
before operating the lathe.
• Rotate your workpiece by hand to make sure it clears the toolrest and bed before turning
the lathe on. Be certain that the workpiece turns freely and is firmly mounted.
• Be aware of the “line of fire” This is the area directly behind and in front of the
workpiece, the areas most likely for a piece to travel as it comes off the lathe. When
turning on the lathe, keep your hand on the switch in case you need to turn the machine
off. When observing someone else turn, stay out of this zone.
Always turn the lathe speed to zero before turning it on. Use slower speeds for larger
diameters or rough pieces and higher speeds for smaller diameters and pieces that are
balanced. Always start a piece at a slower speed until the workpiece is well balanced. If
the lathe is shaking or vibrating, lower the speed until there is no shaking or vibrating.
• Exercise extra caution when using stock with cracks, splits, checks, bark pockets, knots,
irregular shapes, or protuberances. Beginners should avoid these types of stock until they
have greater knowledge of working such wood. Mainly stay out of the Line Of Fire!
• Hold turning tools securely on the tool rest. Hold the tool in a controlled but comfortable
manner. Always contact the tool rest with the tool before contacting the wood.
• Note that, when running a lathe in reverse, it is possible for a chuck or faceplate to
unscrew unless it is securely tightened or locked on the lathe spindle. Beginners should
ask for assistance when locking or unlocking a chuck to a lathe.
• Know your capabilities and limitations. An experienced woodturner is capable of lathe
speeds, techniques, and procedures not recommended for beginning turners.
• Always remove the tool rest before sanding, finishing, or polishing operations.
• Don’t overreach, keep proper footing, and keep your balance at all times.
• Keep lathe the lathe components well lubricated and in good repair. Check for damaged
parts, alignment, binding of moving parts, and other conditions that may affect its
• Keep tools sharp and clean for better and safer performance. Don’t force a dull tool.
Don’t use a tool for a purpose that it was not designed for or intended for.
• Consider your work environment. Don’t use a lathe in damp or wet locations. Do not use
in presence of flammable liquids or gases, and always keep a fully-charged fire
extinguisher close at hand. Keep your work area well lit.
• Stay alert. Watch what you are doing. Pay close attention to unusual sounds or vibrations.
Stop the lathe to investigate the cause. Don’t operate machines when you are tired or
under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• Guard against electric shock. Inspect electric cords for damage. Avoid the use of
• Never leave the lathe running unattended. Turn power off. Don’t leave lathe until it
comes to a complete stop.
• Bandsaws are only to be used by workshop leader and those checked out and approved
by leader for bandsaw use.
Catoctin Area Turners Thursday Night Turning (TNT) CAT Workshops